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Tag Archives: pediatric chronic pain

Chronic Pain and Weight Issues

Talk about a double whammy, it’s bad enough dealing with pain issues but when you couple that with hearing your doctor say “Losing some weight would  take some pressure off your joints and relieve some pain”. That is like asking someone with joint pain to comfortably walk down this rocky road. It is an extremely difficult challenge.

Of course it makes sense, on a logical level. Anyone in pain would do anything to lessen their discomfort. But when you are facing daily doses of pain and the only pleasure you can count on comes from being able to indulge in your favorite snack, being told that you need to lose extra pounds sounds like “And we need to deprive you of your one consistent pleasure”.

Anyone who is dealing with chronic pain and weight issues needs the assistance of compassionate professionals and loved ones who understand that this is a very slippery slope that needs to be tenderly navigated.

Can Happiness be achieved with Chronic Pain

MaryByrneEigelDo we have to sacrifice being happy when we are left to deal with chronic pain? The happiness we might have experienced in the past doing such things as tending a backyard garden  can become overwhelming and exact a heavy pain price when you add chronic pain to the mixture.  I have cringed hearing folks share how they just had to get out and tend their garden even though they knew it would cause their pain to escalate. How can this bring the same happiness?

Gretchen Rubin spent a year testing past wisdom and current research regarding  how to be happy. Her findings are published  in her new book “The Happiness Project”. It offers several suggestions/strategies for taking a look at all the parts of our life, sorting out the essential things and allowing ourselves to be mindful of what does make us happy. And by getting to know ourselves better we might be able to limit or dismiss activities that no longer fit without sacrificing happiness.

Living with chronic pain often means that many compromises have to be made.  I have chosen to be happy with planting flowers in hanging baskets on my patio when in years past my whole yard was a blaze of daylilies, irises and annuals. But reading some of Gretchen’s findings, this same choice is often made by those without chronic pain because they realize they no longer have the time for certain activities.

Have you had to modify what makes you happy? What do you think about the Happiness Project? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Shedding the Skin of Pain

I am not someone who likes snakes, but I am envious of their ability to shed their entire skin, crawl away from it and be free from whatever past experiences that skin held.

Being human and capable of conscious thought, I know I can mentally choose to leave the skin of pain behind, but it is challenging. I wonder if it is my ability to think about what I am shedding that presents the problem? Or am I trying to stay connected to past negative experiences from  pain because that was my identity for so long? Or is accepting a new way of being, that is mostly free from pain, so full of challenges that I am fearful of shedding my old skin?

This article by Michelle Bersell “What is Your Body’s Story” points out the importance of reflecting on how we have felt about our bodies in the past to successfully rewrite the new story of where we are now and where we would like to be.

I am going to stop blaming myself, being envious of the snake and be mindful that there is a lot of work to being able to consciously “shed” my entire skin. And when I combat the obstacles of old bad behaviors and beliefs, I will know that these are the places that still need my focus and  attention before that skin can detach. And  every healthy decision will reflect  places where my pain  skin has been successfully shed.

Do you feel like the Skin of Pain still surrounds you? I would love to hear your story.

Entering the Back Door of Chronic Pain

Friends have shared their frustration at not knowing how to address someone they love about their pain. When  experiencing pain we often employ coping devices. And it takes a lot of effort to keep our focus away from  pain. When others ask lovingly “how are you feeling?”  it can cause internal conflict. In order to answer the question it means we have to “feel” our pain that we are trying so hard “not to feel”. They have no idea how complex a process it is to answer this small question.

I  suggest not to ask their loved one how they are feeling but to tell them what you observe. Observations like “I can see that you are limping”  is honest and objective. A person may have an easier time responding to this type of question because it allows them to choose to talk about their pain or not and does not raise brick wall defenses like the ones we put between ourselves and our pain.  I  think of this approach as going in the back door rather than the front door.

Have you had difficulty with conversations about your pain or find yourself being put off when others ask about it?

Who Let the Pain Monster in?

A dark shadow-like evil vilian with razor sharp tentacles is someone I would never invite into my house. But  this creature on a lone dark night was able to invade my body without even asking my permission.

Reading this article by Dr. Scott Brady, MD, entitled “Do you have a Pain Prone Personality?” I realized  I may not have been in control of letting the original pain monster in, but  I did do things to feed the monster. I encourage you to check the article and see if you  might be unknowingly nourishing your pain.

I would love to hear  what you think.

Insight into Pain

I just finished reading “My Stroke Of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a Harvard trained neuroanatomist doing brain research who woke up one morning and experienced a stroke on the left side of her brain.  She documents her stoke and recovery from an extremely unique perspective, she knew what was happening as it was happening. Among the many lessons she shares is  how we each possess the ability to find “peace”, to quiet mental chatter and exist in the moment. Here is a link to her TEDtv appearance.

For me, the book validates  the importance of activities, like meditation, that I employ  to quiet chronic pain. It addresses the unique relationship that our thoughts have in regards to our well being. The wisdom that she presents, in  a very readable form, impacts our understanding of the mind/body relationship.

Have you read or heard about the book? What are your thoughts?

Pattern of Pain

“The signature of your journey is inscribed in your soul”.

I had this as a journal entry from a few years back, so I am not sure where it comes from.  It took me a lot of years to accept the fact that pain was a major player in my life. It angered me that I had to accept its presence and demands.

Viewing pain as a thread of my personal tapestry, I can see how my life has learned to weave in and around it and caused me to know and grow in new ways. I acknowledge the pattern that pain has woven in my life. And am thankful for some of the places it has forced me to travel, like pursuing my personal artwork.

I hope that for all of us who encounter chronic pain that we can see some beauty in the pain pattern of  our journey.

The Part of Chronic Pain that we can control

John O’Leary, a motivational speaker,  was a 9 year old burn victim,with burns covering 100% of his body, who was given less than a 1% chance to live. John is a real inspiration and talks about his ability to move his focus beyond his scars. He has a website and monthly inspirational newsletter that speaks from the heart. Here is a link to a video where he talks about controlling not our circumstances but our approach to them.

Can you identify with John’s message?

Optical Illusion of Pain

I am convinced that there is a wicked optical illusion game that pain can play. The definition of an optical illusion is “an experience of seeming to see something that does not exist or that is other than it appears”. Like these two orange circles, they appear different in size, but are actually the same size.

The last four months I have been coping with a swollen, painful knee. When I look at it, the swelling seems very obvious. But when it is measured it is only minimally swollen.  So I ask the question how can something that hurts so much be so measurably small? The noise and commotion on the inside of my body are huge and somehow when I look at the area causing the pain I see a larger than usual body part. Maybe what I am seeing has the weight of the pain I am feeling and that causes me to see the joint much larger than it really is. Size, like beauty,  is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Have you had the sensation that your pain makes your painful body part feel much larger than it’s actual physical size?

Pain or Suffering with chronic pain

Those of us in the Chronic Pain club know what we individually experience when we are conscious of our pain. But there is another sensation “suffering” that comes when we are self conscious of our pain. When we feel the pain of our pain. When we feel the loses, the accommodations and the special needs that arise as a result of our pain.

The suffering is easier to control because it is an emotional reaction to the pain. Seperating these two bedfellows can help make an unberable day a little more bearable. I often ask myself “So are you in pain or are you suffering from your pain?”.

How do you feel about pain and suffering? Are they able to be seperated?